Tuesday, 28 October 2008

22nd October 08

Date: 22nd October 08
Location: Masai Mara, Kenya
Weather: Grey skies and cloudy start then clearing before evening rains.
Status: So happy to have seen the migration!!!

A very early start at 6.30am, in fact so early we left before breakfast but it enabled us to get into the Mara as the sun came up over the horizon (just) and into one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever been on the planet; distances which are hard to perceive, horizons which disappear towards infinity, and landscapes which you see on only the nature documentaries. Our aim for the day was to find and track the migrating wildebeest herds which at this time of year travel south from the Masai Mara towards the Serengeti in search of the new grasses which the rains bring at this time of year.

We tracked along the Talek river finding numerous crossing points which had previously been used by the herds but no evidence of any activity in the last few hours. Mum spotted a group of lions in the distance so we made our way across to them and spent some time just watching them only a few metres away lounging in the morning light their bellies full of lasts nights kill no doubt.

We moved on along the river finding scattered groups of game, antelope and the occasional small herd, then as we cleared another small rise there they were in front of us…..one of the huge migrating herds slowly heading south at a slow march. What a stunning sight, led by a group of antelope, there were thousands of the wildebeest all forming a long line two or three animals wide from one horizon to the other. We sat and watched as they passed the Colonel only 20 metres away, then they were gone…..

Its what I came here for and we all loved it, the stuff that documentaries are made of! We moved along the rover to one of the famous crossing points where the wildebeest take on the might of the river and Russian-roulette of avoiding the waiting crocodiles who take their fill at this time of year! But there were no waiting herds only the droppings and odd carcass of the unfortunate few who’d been gobbled!

As we had to make it back to Nairobi for the evening we unfortunately had to cut short our day’s viewing and drove due east across the wide open plains towards the gate we’d entered through a day previous. We left the park and started onto the shaky, rough road and 15kms down the track suddenly the Colonel came to abrupt halt…the engine suddenly dying!?!?!??!

Dad and I hopped under the bonnet to investigate and assumed something had happened to the fuel system, we bled it but nothing happened and the engine refused to fire up! Great were right in the middle of nowhere, the only people around are the few Masai children who’ve turned up to watch the drama unfold and we can’t find the problem.

Time to talk things through logically, fuel supply bled but no fuel getting to the cylinders…must be the fuel-cut out solenoid. Then as were starting to look into it by chance a Land Rover appears over the horizon….with the local mechanic driving it!!! Haha sometimes things just happen. He stops and instantly diagnoses the same problem we had, we find there is no power to the solenoid and install a new wire to replace the old one which somehow has broken or come loose on the terrible surface! We try it and the engine fires up! Superb 

Off again we make good time until we find another stranded vehicle with five locals who are going nowhere. The driver has somehow driven the car into the ditch, so to return our good karma for the day we get the tow rope out and pull them free of the ditch! They bump start the car and they’re off again!

We continue the drive back to Nairobi and to the comforts of Wildebeest Camp where our awesome hosts Allan and Lynita greet us with a sumptuous dinner before we hit the sack after an amazing day.

Kenya and the migration rocks….

End of day location: Nairobi, Kenya
Distance covered: 318kms

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